« PredošláPokračovať »
If the pruning knife has been applied tered and abridged, we are not tho. with similar severity to the beauties roughly satisfied with their insertion of Gertrude of Wyoming, the hatchet in the present volume. Two beauti. of the Mohawk Brandt himself was ful war odes, entitled the Mariners not more fatally relentless and indis- of England, and the Battle of the criminate in its operations.
Baltick, afford pleasing instances of The book contains, besides Ger- that short and impetuous lyrick sally trude of Wyoming, several of Mr. in which Mr. Campbell excels all his Campbell's smaller pieces. Lochiel contemporaries. Two ballads, Gle. in particular and Hohenlinden are nara, and Lord Ullin's daughter, the introduced, although they made part former approaching the rude yet of the author's last quarto volume. forcible simplicity of the ancient We cannot be offended at meeting minstrels, the latter upon a more re. our favourites any where; yet when fined plan, conclude the volume. we connect the circumstance last They were new to us, and are momentioned, with the reflection that dels in their several styles of compoLochiel has been unnecessarily al- sition.
[The following article, and an able review of the French Code of Conscription in
serted in the first volume of the Select Reviews, page 369, are attributed to the pen of a young gentleman of Baltimore, who has lately returned from Europe, where he has been spending several years. Both articles appeared originally in
the Edinburgh Review.] Biographie Moderne, ou Dictionnaire Biographique de tous les Hommes morts ou
vivans, qui ont marqué à la fin du 18 Siecle ou au Commencement de celui-ci, par leur Rang, leurs Emplois, leurs Talens, leurs Malheurs, leurs Vertus, leurs Crimes, et où tous les faits qui les concernent sont rapportés de la Maniere la plus impartiale et la plus authentique. A Leipzig. 1807.
“TO endeavour,” says Machia- tion, which has accidentally fallen vel, in his Discourses,
« to make a
into our hands. Under the title of people free who are servile in their Modern Biography, it purports to be nature, is as hopeless, as to attempt a history of all those who, by their to reduce to slavery a nation imbued rank, their talents, their virtues, and with the spirit of freedom.” This their crimes, have contributed to il. remark, which was dictated by a lustrate, or to disgrace, the end of review of history in the days of Ma- the last and the commencement of chiavel, is eminently confirmed, we the present century. Before we offer think, by the events of our an opinion concerning the execution times. There are nations who cannot of so comprehensive a plan, we shall be permanently enslaved and others state the circumstances, which, as we cannot be long maintained in the erect are informed, attended the publicaposture of freedom. It is often no tion of the work in Paris. In the less foolish than it is criminal, in an year 1800, a Dictionary, similar in ambitious sovereign to bear down form to the present, but characterithe unarmed laws of a free people; zed by far greater asperity and boldand sometimes unwise and unjustifia- ness, was published in the French cable in an honest patriot to subvert all pital, and immediately suppressed by at once a corrupt or arbitrary govern. the police. The authors seem to ment.
have had it in view, to expose the These reflections were suggested inconsistency of those who had enby the perusal of a curious and in- listed themselves in the service of the teresting work on the French reyolu- consular government, after signalizing
themselves by their zeal for a demo- this part of the undertaking, too, cratical equality. The book, although our own recollections, and our knowwritten in a republican spirit, was ledge of the sources of their inforparticularly levelled at the members mation, enable us to judge with some of the convention, and contained confidence of their accuracy. These much pointed declamation against sources are, the journals of the legisthe leaders and emissaries of the pare lative bodies; the files of the Monities which alternately usurped so san- teur ; the several memoirs published guinary a dominion over their wretch- at different times, such as those of ed country. In 1806, the undertaking Bertrand de Moleville and Bouillé; was revived in a shape which it was furnishing a narrative of facts whose supposed would prove less obnoxious exactness cannot be doubted, what. to the publick authorities. The vi. ever diversity of opinion may prevail triolick acid, to use an expression of as to the motives and views of indithe author, was wholly extracted ; viduals and parties.* It may be geand particular care taken to exclude nerally remarked, indeed, of the from the biography of the imperial epoch now under consideration, that family, and of the chief favourites its leading occurrences have had of the monarch, whatever might more notoriety than those of almost be offensive. The better to se- any other. There cannot well be
themselves from suspicion, any privacy in the history of a poputhey professed, not to pass judgment, lar revolution, effected, in a great but merely to furnish materials for degree, by pamphlets and publick decision; and to embrace, at the debates, and consummated by battles same time, the names of all their and treaties. foreign contemporaries of political It certainly is not our intention to note.
These sacrifices, however, repeat the disgusting catalogue of the were not sufficient to propitiate the miseries and crimes of the French favour, or lull the vigilance of the revolution; but we have thought that police. The authors were punished; a summary review of the career and and the circulation of their book im- fate of some of its most conspicuous mediately prohibited. The copy now before us was secreted, and given to . The memoirs of these two writers the individual from whom it has pass- are of unquestionable authority. Both ed into our hands with some addi- deserve credit for much firmness of contional sketches of character, upon
duct and purity of intention; and have
infused less of passion into their narrathe accuracy of which we have rea
tive, than might have been expected son to think we can depend.
from their character of leaders and sufThe work is interesting, we think, ferers in the royal cause. The work vi in various points of view. It presents Bertrand de Moleville, although some. us with the portraits of beings of what diffuse, is exceedingly, precious as whom almost all of us have heard ;
& great body of authentick materials. and whose names we still recall with
The historian should particularly add to
these works, the Proces-Verbaux of the sensations of astonishment and ter- legislative assemblies, the “ Tableau Anarour. The biography of foreigners, lytique du Moniteur," and the History of indeed, is miserably scanty and er- the War of La Vendée, by Alphonse roneous; but this branch evidently Beachamp. As men, we blush to acknowappears to have been executed withledge that these incellible records but too out interest or exertion, and forms a
clearly prove, that the savage features of
the convention have not been greatly caremarkable contrast to the industry ricatured by the hand of party. and ingenuity which have been exer- Tristius haud illis monstrum, &c. cised in collecting and detailing the
We find that acts of amnesty for revoluopinions of the chief actors in the
tionary crimes were passed by this body : French revolution. With regard to but they will not be ratified by posterity.
agents, preceded by a few remarks genius of a military despotism in the on the moral and political lessons minority of its dominion, must be es. with which it abounds, might not be sentially hostile. Hereafter, should without interest, nor perhaps without our neighbours ever enjoy that rare utility. We know of no period in felicity of a free press,* even for the the whole record of history, which transactions of the past, there may deserves to be so deeply weighed and arise some mighty painter, whose so particularly examined, as the in- pencil shall do justice to the subject. terval between the years 1790 and When we recollect that Tacitus was 1800. These few years give us the born in the reign of Nero, and maabridged experience of as many cen- tured in that of Domitian, we turies; and never did the faculties encouraged to hope that history may and the passions of civilized man again have in store some intelligence work with so much force, and so of the same esalted stamp, to avenge little disguise. Those who have lost, her cause, and to frustrate the efforts and those who have acquired power ; which are now made to stifle her the vicissitudes which the nations and voice on the continent. governments of Europe have under- Before we enter more particularly gone ; and the precautions employed upon the contents of these volumes, to avert the evils of change; are we must remark, that we are powerequally subjects for minute research fully struck with the novel and imand profound speculation. During posing spectacle which France exhithe shock of this great convulsion in bited from the time of the convention France, and the conflict of opinions until the establishment of the consuamong ourselves, there was no place lar administration of a country ruled for calm observation; and the mind by ephemeral governments, each was rather bewildered than guided struggling to maintain itself by every by the light which these astonishing art which fraud could suggest to vioevents seemed to throw on the cha- lence; convulsed to the centre by racter of our nature. Now that the
profligate factions ; deluged with nastorm is hushed abroad, and the apprehensions of danger have subsided • When we consider the real state of at home, our conclusions are likely the press in France, there is something
ludicrous in the mock solemnity with to be more just, and our reflections infinitely more beneficial.
which the constitution provides against
its violation. It creates a committee in We think, however, that a consi.
the senate, entitled the senatorial commitderable time must still elapse, before tee of the press. When authors or printers the world will be presented with a have to complain of impediments thrown suitable history of ihe causes which in the way of the circulation of their accelerated the dissolution of this works, they are entitled to petition this
committee. When these obstacles are great monarchy, and so rapidly con
not conceived by the committee to be verted a mild and loyal people into a rendered necessary by the interests of the lawless and frantick mob. Preju- state, the minister to whom they are dice and resentment are still too ascribed is invited to withdraw them. powerful to let us hope for an im- Should they continue to exist after three partial narrative among ourselves; neral meeting of the senate, to whom the
invitations, the committee demands a geand if we could supply the talents president formally announces that there and the temper, the materials would
are strong presumptions that the liberty still be wanting. In France, where of the press has been violated.”. The case alone they could be found, the sword is then brought before the High Imperial is still reeking with blood"; the spirit Court—a judicature for the trial of delinof adulation would suppress, and the
in the members of the Imperial unsubdued animosities of faction dis- judges of which are the princes, the se
family, publick functionaries, &c.-the tort the truth, to which, indeed, the nators, &c.
tive blood ; with every atom of so- when, both within and without, the ciety out of its proper place; in a state appeared to be rushing furiously state of absolute bankruptcy; with to destruction ; when, to use the phe. no regular system of finance; with a torical language of one of her reprepaper currency incalculable in a- sentatives, the sons of freedom were mount, and at the last ebb of depre- encountering all the malignity of forciation ; yet still maintaining, with tune abroad, and the revolution, like unexampled success, a war which Saturn, was devouring her own chilcost more blood and treasure than any dren at home, not a single indication ever known in modern times; sup- of despondency was given by her porting, at different periods, fourteen rulers ; nor, during the various dedifferent armies on a vast establish- volutions of publick authority, did ment; lavishing great sums in lar. there seem to be any abatement of gesses at home and subsidies abroad; enthusiasm, or any remission of enerand, finally, triumphing over all gy in furnishing the means of resisther continental enemies, and settling ance to foreign aggression. The fordown in an organization civil and mi- tune of the republick was never once litary, which threatens the subjuga. intrusted to the issue of a single tion of the world.* During a crisis battle; nor was the execution of their
plans either relinquished or adjourne * “ The republick maintained fourteen ed in consequence of new appearances different armies. The troops paid were
of danger, or an increase in the numestimated at fourteen hundred thousand. The front of the troops defending her on
ber of their opponents. The senate the east occupied a line of five hundred of Rome, under the pressure of adleagues, extending from the Adriatick to versity, never displayed a more magthe mouth of the Ems in the North Sea. nanimous feeling, nor assumed a Forty sous were paid, for some time, to the individuals who frequented the popu- defiance in a prouder tone, than the
more imposing attitude, nor hurled lar societies. The theatres of Paris were hired to give gratuitous exhibitions [de revolutionary government in a season part et pour le peuple.] Succours were of the most alarming disasters. given to large districts. Bread, which While we bitterly deplore the excess, cost eight sous per pound, in hard money, es of a people intoxicated with the was distributed, almost for nothing, to the first draughts of anarchy, and express inhabitants of Paris. The national con
our detestation for the crimes of the vention, in the midst of the revolutionary whirlwind, had no system of finance, and most horrible of all despotisms, that could have none." [Řamel, Histoire des Fin. which wears the mask of liberty, it de la Republique.] This writer was him. is impossible not to admire the splenself minister of finance at the period of did military achievements of that pewhich he speaks. He states the issue of riod, the steady confidence in ne assignats to have amounted to 40,000,000, 000, of which 12,000,000,000 were with cause, and the ardent attachment to drawn from circulation; and at the epoch liberty manifested on the scaffold of their cessation, 100 francs, in assig- even by those who fell victims to the nats, were valued at 3 sous in coin! a abuse of her name; the numerous proportion of 1-666. The manufacture instances of heroick death afforded of this paper currency, the history of both by royalists and republicans not which is unparalleled, occupied eight inferiour to those upon which the hishundred workmen, who sometimes printed, numbered, and stamped, from 2 to 3
torians of antiquity dwell with so millions of francs a day. During the six much delight. " Laudatis antiquoyears of their currency, the annual reve- rum mortibus pares exitus.” We nue was about 300 million francs. These
are but little disposed to be the apowere applied to the purchase of neutrality and alliance abroad. In a cu
logists of the French revolution ; but rious report made to the convention on
we cannot consent to qualify all this this subject by St. Just, the court of as fanaticism, or to reprobate all Constantinople alone is said to have cost those as jacobins, who believe, that 70 millions of francs in diamonds and gold !
even the members of that school confident of their security, and more have occasionally displayed a spirit attentive to the progress of publick which confers dignity on human na- opinion ; if the privileged orders had ture. If France had, after all, worked discarded in time, their habits of luxout her salvation ; if liberty had sur. urious indolence, and zealously covived these furious struggles, we operated to ease the burdens, and to should consider mankind as gainers. ameliorate the condition of the lower. Her own losses would have been re- classes ; to promote economical retrieved; her crimes might have been forms ; to restore order to the finan. forgotten ; but it is of all reflections ces ; to purify the civil list ; and to the most lamentable, that the issue restrain the cupidity of courtiers ;* which is now before our eyes, has if the royal princes had not, by their not only rendered her redemption prodigality and their excesses, offendhopeless, but has dishonoured the ed even the decorum of vice ; if the cause of freedom, which is now experiment had been fully tried, of throughout the universe made respon- a popular minister seconded by a pa. sible for her miscarriage.
triotick king; they might have stood In this country, it has been but firm upon the
of their own too much the fashion to point the authority, in spite of all the machimoral of this revolution one way, nations of philosophers and deists, without adverting to the awful warn- encyclopedists and levellers, to whom ing which it holds out, as well to their misfortunes are so piously and rulers as to subjects. The pride of loyally ascribed. When Lepelletier, the patrician may be instructed by president of the parliament of Paris, this catastrophe, no less than the advised the recall of Necker, it was jealousy of the plebeian. In the ut- with this exclamation : Representons
. ter annibilation of the old hereditary le peuple, de peur qu'il ne se repre. distinctions, and the ruin of the great sente lui même!
“Let us represent proprietaries of France, there is assu- the people, lest they should represent redly something fitted to alarm and themselves." to improve the aristocracy of rank One of the chief causes of the and wealth of all countries. Necker atrocious character which the revostates in his book on finance, that lution assumed, is to be found in the there were seven thousand pedigrees apathy or pusillanimity of those who carefully deposited in the Royal Li. were most deeply interested in the brary of Paris ; and we will not un preservation of order, and best able dertake to conjecture how many title- to fashion publick sentiment. The deeds of extensive patrimony might greater part of these men, at the have been found upon the judicial re- commencement of the contest, either cords. If we should ask, why it is, looked with indifference, or that these no longer exist ?-we must shrunk back in dismay, or consented not be told, that the wreck of title, of fortune, and of royal power, was *“ Le livre rouge, la prodigalité des owing to the mere perversity of the princes,-l'énormité de la liste civile, people, or to the unprovoked spirit l'insatiable cupidité des courtisans et des of faction. The people may unjust- du mal,” &c. (Observ. sur la Rev.] “!
agens des menus plaisirs, voila la racine ly and capriciously desert an indivi.
am convinced,” says Necker,
" that a dual contending against the power of habitual residence ať Versailles weakens, a government; but will never aban- in an administration of the finances, the don a government which has honestly inclination and ambition to undertake laboured to deserve and to secure
great things ;-there he sees vanities rated their affections. If those who were
80 high, and such a deep interest taken in upon “ the slippery heights” of the loses sight of the true value of every thing
the game of ambition and intrigue, that he kingdom of France, had been less that is worthy of esteem."